Making Art Jewelry: Why do we do it?

Enchanted Adornments by Cynthia
Thornton of Green Girl Studios

I had the pleasure of attending my first L'esprit du Metal precious metal clay guild meeting in my new town last weekend and was awed by the friendly, gracious, and talented jewelry artists in the group. They made me feel right at home and part of their group quickly, just like my first "home" metal clay group did—and many of them surprised me by telling me that they were Jewelry Making Daily subscribers. How awesome is that? (Thanks ladies!)

The meeting was held at our local arts center, and I spent a few minutes looking around at the art on display—jewelry and other work. Since then, I've been thinking a lot about the artistic community and what fuels an artist's desire to make art—especially art jewelry, where the materials and tools are often so expensive and the cost of labor and materials is harder to recoup in sales. So few people are able to make a living creating art or art jewelry, and many people (some of you, I'm sure) wear themselves out creating, working tirelessly through the late-night hours long after they've finished their "day jobs." So why do they (we) do it? Have you thought about why you do it?

Mixed Media: How to Make Polymer
Clay Beads by Ronna Sarvas Weltman

Having been part of two metal clay guilds now as well as other societies and groups for specific creative endeavors—and long having the amazing good fortune to meet and work with so many artists and jewelry artists whose work I've admired for years—I think I've learned why most of us do it. I believe creatives have art in us that has to come out, just like the flower has to bloom out of the bud.

Jewelry artist Lexi Erickson, my beloved silversmithing teacher and now friend, includes this quote from Anais Nin on the end of her emails: "And the day came when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." I make a point to read it every time I see it, even though I've practically got it memorized now, because it's a good reminder for me to keep creating, keep trying new things, keep learning. I think it also hints at the answer to why we create art.

Simply Modern Jewelry by Danielle Fox

During the early days of Jewelry Making Daily, senior editor of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist Helen Driggs interviewed some of LJJA's most talented jewelry artists and contributors (Lexi included) about why they make art. It was fun for me to read their insights, and we've grown so much since then, I wanted all of you to be able to see their answers. I hope you enjoy it!

After you've gotten motivated by those jewelry-making experts, you'll be itching for some project inspiration and instruction, I'm sure. The new Jewelry Making Daily Shop is the best place to find both, and fortunately you're just in time for our Spring Cleaning Sale. It doesn't take an expert to know that jewelry making is way more fun than spring cleaning! So ditch the feather duster and save 40% or more off of literally hundreds of jewelry-making resources, including books, DVDs, magazines, and special issues. (Some of my favorite jewelry-making resources that you might not have seen are pictured on this page.) Then tell me all about your jewelry art in the comments below!

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